The Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum hosts its annual Kite Festival for families to spend time together

Photo courtesy of Jenn Malone
EXPLORATION AND IMAGINATION: The Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum’s annual Family Kite Festival provides a fun learning experience for children and their families.

The Santa Maria Family Kite Festival is one of Jenn Malone’s favorite days of the year. 

“There’s something about hundreds of kites in the air flying harmoniously at the same time. It’s a miracle they don’t get tangled, but I love the joy these kids are expressing [during] their fun and learning,” said Malone, the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum’s executive director. “I love all the colors and different kites everyone brings—we never have a repeat kite in the sky, everyone has a kite that’s unique to them.”

The Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum is a local nonprofit dedicated to fostering family and youth-inspired learning by creating experiences to explore the valley and beyond, according to the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum website. For at least the past 10 years, the museum, in partnership with the Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department, has hosted the annual Family Kite Festival where local families can enjoy being outside and spend time together outside while flying kites, she said. 

“I know the main drive behind it was to offer something unique and different for the community, especially targeting families to come and do something fun for free that would be giving their family an opportunity to bond and have an awesome day outside,” Malone said. 

This year, the Family Kite Festival will take place on April 7 from noon to 4 p.m. at Rotary Centennial Park, where families can fly kites, enjoy food from local restaurants, explore local business booths, see kite-flying demonstrations, listen to live music, and participate in kite-flying contests, she said. Ambassadors from the American Kitefliers Association—the largest association of kiters in the world that wants to share the joy of kites with people throughout the country—will be there to help coach families.

“We will host a kite hospital booth as well, so if the kids’ kites need first aid, we can hopefully fix them,” Malone said. 

The museum will also host its annual running of the Bols race where kids wear a parachute-type kite and race each other to show how energy, inertia, and grit come together, she said. People can bring their own kites, or the Santa Maria Recreation and Parks booth will provide free colorful kites for pickup. 

“As far as attendees, we have grown significantly from the beginning years that we started—last year was our most-attended year for the kite festival, and we anticipate that it will continue growing,” Malone said. “I love that there’s so many community supporters that come out, so the community knows what’s available to them.” 

While there’s games to pick and choose from, the day isn’t structured and gives kids the freedom to explore the park, fly kites, and spend time with their loved ones, she said. 

“The kids get to create their own story behind what the day means to them. It’s not a classroom environment. It’s a play, have fun, and be imaginative atmosphere, and that’s what I stand behind,” Malone said. 

The Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department helps with the event’s logistics, provides the festival space, and works with the vendors and booths, she added. 

We are a very small nonprofit, and we would never be able to do the kite festival without the Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department. They are our strongarm that supports and provides what we need at the park,” Malone said. 

The Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum is also looking for sponsorships—businesses or nonprofits that want to buy a booth for the festival and get social media and advertising recognition through the museum’s promotions, she said. Sponsorships are at least $250 per month. 

“The museum doesn’t want kite flying to be a thing of the past, so I love that once a year it’s on the forefront one day for our families to have something fun to do, and it’s simple,” Malone said. 

Rotary Centennial Park is located at 2625 South College Drive. Direct questions or sponsorship interest inquiries to [email protected] or call (805) 928-4144


• The Santa Barbara County Water Agency and local water providers announced the 2024 WaterWise Garden Recognition Contest. This annual contest aims to recognize Santa Barbara County residents’ beautiful and water-efficient landscapes. Participants can apply online to compete for the “coveted agency award” and countywide grand prize. Winners will be showcased online and receive an engraved stone boulder. Residents who have the Vandenberg Village Community Services District, Santa Ynez River Water Conservation Improvement District 1, or Buellton as their water provider are eligible to apply. Visit to view contest rules and submit the application online. All applications are due April 30.

Reach Staff Writer Taylor O’Connor at [email protected].

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